A ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that enables the body to enter a metabolic state called ketosis.
The state requires the body to burn fat for energy by converting to ketones to supply energy to the brain. This premise for adopting a keto diet has been to help people lose weight.
However, there has been an interesting twist to the diet known as the dirty keto diet. It has become incredibly popular, thanks to the prospect of losing weight while taking junk food.
The idea is similar to a clean keto diet, but instead of meeting the fat requirement by eating healthy foods, the person can binge on junk food three or more times a day.
What A Clean Keto Diet Entails
The body gets energy from glucose, the sugar molecule found in carbohydrates. As mentioned earlier, the keto diet puts the body in a different state where it relies on fat for energy.
As such, it is a high-fat, low-carb diet that generates 70-75% of calories from fat, 5-10% from carbs and 20-25% from protein.
The diet has become incredibly popular for its ability to cause substantial fat loss.
A clean keto diet focuses on taking whole, unprocessed foods that are high in fiber and low in carbs but still rich in other nutrients. Such foods include green veggies, grass-fed beef, free-range eggs, and pasture-raised pork.
What about Dirty Keto?
With a dirty Keto diet, the source of fat does not matter when on a keto diet as long as you meet the standard requirement of 70-75% calories from fat, 20-25% from protein and 5-10% from carbs.
For example, you can eat cheeseburgers and bacon, which are high in protein and fat, and low in carbs though they have detrimental effects on a person’s health.
It also includes eating seemingly healthy things like shakes, protein bars, and other snacks claimed to have low carbs and free of sugar.
Clean vs. Dirty Keto
Clean Keto Foods include:
- Monosaturated fats:
It involves eating foods rich in healthy fats like ghee, nut butter, avocados, and coconut oil. Also, people on a keto diet should stick to using healthy oils like olive oil, walnut oil, and avocado oil as they contain healthier fats
- High-fiber vegetables:
Most vegetables are rich in fiber which makes their net carbs incredibly low. Examples include kale, broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, and romaine lettuce. When pairing them with fat, you may stir-fry them in coconut oil, bake them in butter or steam and eat with an avocado
Water, green veggie juice, and herbal tea make healthy drinks. Adequate hydration is essential when on a keto diet as you are reducing the amount of sugar and sodium in your diet
Dirty Keto Foods Include:
- Processed foods:
Artificial foods are riddled with chemicals which disrupt the function of gut bacteria. Sugar-free foods like protein bars contain sweetened sugar alcohols
- Full-fat dairy products:
Full-fat cheese is an excellent example. Excessive consumption of high-fat dairy products leads to accumulation of saturated fat which puts you at risk of developing cardiovascular disease
- Red and processed meats:
Red meats like bacon, sausage, and beef are unhealthy. A keto diet requires the consumption of less processed, leaner foods like poultry, and fish like salmon which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and protein
Why People Love A Dirty Keto Diet?
The most obvious reason people love a dirty keto diet is convenience. The low-carb, high-fat diet may be incredibly challenging to adhere to, especially if you are a beginner.
As long as you attain the keto diet fat requirements, you can get away with a steak smothered in several parts of butter burger at a local fast food restaurant.
Should You Try Dirty Keto Diet?
No, unless it is necessary. If you are traveling or don’t have time to plan out a healthy keto diet, you may try it out as long as it does not become a habit.
Keep in mind a dirty keto diet removes the healthy component of the original diet by focusing on macronutrients.
As a result, the body experiences a deficiency in gut-nourishing nutrients like resistant starches and prebiotic fibers.
There’s also the concern of taking lots of pro-inflammatory fat and high-saturated fats which cause heart disease and diabetes.
As such, it important to take note of the type of fat consumed when on a high-fat diet. Healthy, unsaturated fats like nuts, olive oil, fatty fish are excellent options when on a dirty keto diet.
Does Dirty Keto Help Lose Weight?
Yes, you will still lose weight. The premise for a keto diet is to place the body into a state of ketosis. The state is achieved even when on a dirty keto diet.
However, you will need to consume fewer calories than the body burns daily, keep the carb intake less than 50g, and take enough dietary fat.
Cons of A Dirty Keto Diet
A dirty keto diet allows you to take large amounts of processed foods and vegetable oils to attain the required macro counts.
However, the body misses out on micronutrients like minerals, enzymes, and vitamins which are equally crucial to your overall health.
Micronutrients Perform Several Roles in The Body:
- Keep the immune system healthy. It explains why people on a dirty keto diet often develop flu
- Fight off oxidants that lead to aging
- Help the skin look great
- Prevent weight gain when you are off the diet
- Reduce sugar cravings
- Prevent inflammation, bloating and the development of weak bones
Another major flaw of a dirty keto diet is that the body does not attain the ketosis state. The diet will only induce a metabolic state but will not help the body reach the state to reap its benefits.
To achieve a ketosis state, you have to restrict your carb and fat intake and monitor the amount of proteins taken.
This is because the body can still break down proteins to provide energy, a process known as gluconeogenesis. A dirty keto encourages you to take more proteins inhibiting ketosis.
Failure to achieve the ketosis state causes the body to feel hungry fast. Fat makes you feel fuller, however, it takes longer to digest than other macronutrients.
Dirty keto means you increase protein intake and reduce fat which leaves the body in a state of energy deficiency as the body is not burning enough carbs for fuel.
It explains why people on a dirty keto diet feel the need to snack often.
Also, you are likely to ignore the importance of adequate consumption of calories and the quality of your diet.
This may have a detrimental effect if you are on a weight loss routine. Calories promote weight loss by ensuring the diet is sustainable in the long-term.
A well-balanced diet supplies the body with all essential nutrients required for good health.
Dirty keto, on the other hand, restricts the consumption of many foods rich in nutrients: veggies, fruits, legumes, grains. It makes it difficult for the body to obtain essential minerals, vitamins and fiber.
Supplements may come in handy but there is also a chance you will not meet the nutrient requirement.
How to Start on A Clean Keto Diet
Reducing sugar and carb intake is a great start but if getting into nutritional ketosis here are a few tips for you:
- Avoid taking processed foods
- Get into intermittent fasting, so you eat once or twice a day
- Takes lots of water
- Include a serving of veggies in every meal
Is Dirty Keto Easier to Follow?
Yes, it is easy to follow as you don’t have to proper meal plan. It allows you to eat anything as long as it does is low in carbs.
While you will lose weight, it can cause detrimental effects to the body, as discussed in the previous section.
A dirty keto diet provides the same macronutrients as those available on a clean keto diet. However, it deprives the body and the brain essential micronutrients, making it dangerous to follow as an ongoing diet regimen.
The most obvious effect is the reduced fiber content which is an essential nutrient for digestion. Fiber aids in bowel regularity hence the likelihood of developing constipation when on a dirty keto diet.
High fiber intake protects against digestive disorders like stomach ulcers, diverticulitis, gastroesophageal reflux disease and hemorrhoids. Also, there is the aspect of altering the gut microbiome.
The microbiomes help in digestion, aid in mental health, boost immunity and prevent certain illnesses. A dirty keto diet is likely to disrupt these functions by damaging the composition and concentration of gut bacteria.
Chia Seeds is one of the highest fiber to weight ratios. Serving Size: 1 cup Serving Weight: 160g Fiber 55.0g
A clean keto diet should help you achieve your weight loss goals without disrupting the normal body functions. Keep in mind, there are little studies that show that a dirty keto diet is indeed effective.
Many researchers are concerned that the diet affects one’s health over time despite any weight loss achieved. As such, if you are not following a healthy keto diet, take note of the quality of food you eat.
For any further questions/information please leave a message below.
Cheers to Healthy Living,
Anh-Tu and Sigmund